U-M pushes forward with anti-racism faculty hiring initiative on Ann Arbor campus

Three-year initiative to hire at least 20 tenure-track faculty members

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan is seeking to hire at least 20 new tenure-track faculty members on its Ann Arbor campus with scholarly expertise in structural racism and racial inequality as part of a new three-year hiring initiative.

According to the university, the move came from Provost Susan M. Collins, who asked deans across the campus to create a new hiring plan focused around systemic racism, anti-racism and racial injustice.

With no more than eight hires planned in the first year, the initiative is designed to foster collaborative communication among new and existing faculty experts, with the goal of establishing U-M as leader in anti-racism efforts and helping the school and society better pursue and understand racial justice.

“U-M’s position as a leading intellectual advocate for the benefits of diversity was enshrined by its research-based defenses in two landmark 2003 U.S. Supreme Court affirmative-action cases,” Collins said in a statement. “As a pre-eminent public institution, committed to building knowledge and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, the university should continue to pursue these aims through research, education and societal engagement that advances racial equity.”

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Funding for the faculty hires, research and scholarships affiliated with the initiative will be provided by the Provost’s Office. The support will cover graduate student staff assistants and postdocs, who will help bridge connections among researchers as well as securing grants on new collaborative projects. Innovation advancement grants will also be provided by the Provost’s Office to support interdisciplinary team work.

Additionally, the Provost’s Office will partner with the Office of Research and the National Center for Institutional Diversity to organize and support research and education under the initiative.

“To facilitate a sense of community among initiative hires and expert faculty currently on campus, we will leverage our existing resources, including the Diversity Scholars Network, and extensive experience developing and supporting faculty with a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice,” NCID Director Tabbye Chavous, professor of education and psychology and associate vice president for research, said in a statement.

The U-M Biosciences Initiative, in conjunction with the hiring initiative, will be filling four tenure-track positions this year. U-M plans to hire STEM faculty with a record of civic and professional practices that run counter to inequity and bias in their respective fields.

A selection committee of faculty members will review proposals by deans and groups of faculty submitted in January and will make hires. The faculty members who make up the selection committee have not been announced yet.

“We look forward to receiving and reviewing the proposals from the university’s schools and departments,” Collins said in a statement. “We are especially excited to see the ideas and possibilities the cross-disciplinary engagement will yield.”

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.